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Lonely Hydrogen Atom in Space (casimir)

  1. Sep 18, 2012 #1
    A sole hydrogen atom in a vacuum (negligible gravity). The hydrogen atom has the lowest possible kinetic energy allowed by QM. Given that casimir effects apply...

    Will the hydrogen atom remain at it's initial lowest kinetic energy state indefinitely or is it possible for it's energy state to change?

    If changes in the energy state caused by virtual particles are possible, then what kind of changes are probable and what range of change would be possible even if unlikely?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 18, 2012 #2


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    The Casimir effect is the QED correction (due to retardation of the Coulomb interaction) to the London dispersion force, a weak interaction (van der Waals type) between electronic degrees of freedom.
    It needs at least two electrons to get this effect. It does not occur here.
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